In 2008 the BBC premiered a show which promised to show viewers where it all began. Where the legends and myths lead way to tales of honor and magic. The tale of King Arthur, and the sorcerer Merlin, is an old one. As a child, I read the books, watched the movies. As a teenager, I was fascinated and delved deeper in to the mythos that is Arthur and Merlin. The Once and Future King, by T.H. White remains one of my favorite books of all time. All of the movies, cartoons, and books focused on Arthur. The boy who became king because of sword and a stone. The allure of The Adventures of Merlin is that the focus is on Merlin. His perspective, his complexities. Of course, Merlin is a show that diverged from the more widely accepted mythos behind the tale of Arthur. Despite that, it fits beautifully into the stories and myths behind the legendary duo. Elements from the historic legends remain present in this telling of Merlin and Arthur.
Truth be told, I did not watch the show when it first aired and cannot for the life of me explain why. Thanks to Netflix, I have watched the entire series from start to finish and will say that I missed out on experiencing it the first time. The Adventures of Merlin is a must watch for any fan of the legends and myths of King Arthur, Merlin and Knights of the Round Table. The youthful perspective demonstrated in this show is refreshing rather than off-putting, as can sometimes happen in a youthful retelling of an iconic legend. While it tells the stories of their adventures it encompasses all of the elements we value in the original stories. We see the formation of the Round Table and the love story of Arthur and Guinevere. The evil Morgana and Mordred are both present and add to the rollercoaster of emotions this show brings out of it’s viewers. While there is a great deal of action and swordplay there is also an element of playfulness about the show. In a single episode you can go from laughing to crying to cheering and it all fits together beautifully. This review has intentionally omitted spoilers because you should enjoy it for yourself and enjoy the moments for the first time, though you may find yourself with a sense of familiarity from the stories and legends of your childhood.
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